An emotional affair can be just as devastating as a physical one. In some cases, emotional affairs are much more destructive. When your spouse makes a strong connection with someone else, it breaks trust and crumbles the foundation of your marriage. All is not lost. An emotional affair can be a turning point.
It can lead to a better marriage in the long run. Before you get to that point in the future where you’re back on track and stronger than ever, there’s the process of fixing your marriage. Experts share their secrets to fixing your marriage after an emotional affair.
Secret #1 Blame Feels Good, But It’s Unproductive
Sure you can put all of the blame for the emotional affair on your spouse. However, that reaction is unproductive. A marriage is a connection between two people and that means that you both share the challenges, blame and rewards of the marriage. When a marriage suffers emotional infidelity it’s often the result of multiple factors. It’s important to assess your role in the marriage and how your actions may have contributed to the emotional affair. Then, and only then, can you begin to create solutions and move forward.
Secret #2 Productive Communication is the Name of the Game
Productive communication is communication that is focused on achieving a positive result. A fight, where you’re both accusing each other, nagging or arguing about what the other person did, isn’t productive. In fact, it’s destructive.
Productive communication is honest and open communication. Instead of blaming or accusing, you share your feelings and how certain experiences and actions make you feel.
For example, instead of saying, “You always ignore me when I come home.” You might say, “It makes me feel ignored when I come home and we don’t speak. If we could sit down and talk for five minutes when I come home I would feel acknowledged and appreciated.”
As you can see, communicating in this manner really helps your spouse see things from your perspective.
Secret #3 Find Common Ground
What do you two have in common? Find common interests and personality traits. For example, do you share a similar interest in your community? Sports? What about hobbies or physical activities? If you cannot find something in common with your spouse, then consider starting something new together.
For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to learn ballroom dancing and your spouse wants to take golf lessons. Sign up for both and make a commitment to learn together. This new connection can help you begin to fix your marriage after an emotional affair. It will begin to strengthen and rebuild your connection.
Secret #4 Focus on You
When your spouse has an emotional affair it can leave you feeling unworthy. You may be filled with self-doubt. Instead of allowing these negative emotions take over, start focusing on all of the qualities that make you feel wonderful. What do you enjoy doing? What would you like to learn? What activities can make you feel better about yourself? It may be something as simple as taking a class. You may find inspiration by meditating or going to church. Do find activities and interests that boost your self-esteem.
Secret #5 Avoid Making Demands
After an emotional affair you may be tempted to demand that your spouse cut off the “friend” completely. Making this demand can put too much pressure on your spouse. It may be perceived as an ultimatum. It can cause the division between you two to widen.
Instead, remember Secret #2 and try to communicate productively. Share how their connection makes you feel and why you’d prefer they didn’t spend time together. At the same time, work on Secret #3 and begin rebuilding the connection the two of you once shared. Chances are, your spouse will begin distancing themselves from that other person.
Secret #6 Understand Why the Emotional Affair Happened
You cannot fix something unless you understand why it broke. It’s important to approach this secret from several vantage points.
- Ask your husband or wife why the emotional affair happened
- Explore your role in the breakdown of your marriage
- Understand who your spouse is and what their unique needs may be – maybe they need more attention than you do or maybe they have been cheated on in the past
- Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and try to look at your marriage from their perspective
- Consider getting an outside opinion. A coach or a counselor can be a tremendous help in understanding why an emotional affair happened. They can work with you together as a couple and individually to help you understand your own needs and your role in the marriage
Secret #7 Understand That There’s No Single Best Way to Fix a Marriage
marriage is different. The people in each marriage are unique. The partnership you’ve formed is unique, too. That means that your process for fixing your marriage is also going to be unique.
Some marriages get back on track after an emotional affair through marriage counseling. Other marriages find that coaching or a step-by-step workbook type program is the key to success. Talk to your spouse about how they want to fix your marriage. Explore your options and decide together which approach is the best approach for you.
After an emotional affair you’ll experience many challenges as a couple and individually. Knowing what to expect and communicating effectively are the keys to fixing your marriage. Find common interests and make a commitment to work together to rebuild your marriage. Emotional infidelity can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. Use the resources around you, like the Marriage Fitness program, to save your marriage and keep your family together.
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If you take the right steps, you can draw your spouse back in and begin to restore your marriage TOGETHER. How do you do that? Well, have you asked yourself any of these questions?
- How do you heal from your spouse’s emotional or physical affair?
- How do you forgive?
- How do you get to the head-space where you’re able to give your spouse another chance?
If you want the answers to these questions and others, subscribe to Marriage Fitness FREE report, “7 Secrets for a Stronger Marriage” and get your FREE marriage assessment too.